Author: Ferdinand von Schirach
Review: I recently read a list of the best crime fiction of the last year
that focused on non-American novels. Since my taste runs that way I was
very happy to get such a list and to find most of the books were in my
library system. I had never read German literature before and so I was
looking forward to this.
The Collini Case involves a well-respected, elderly member of German
society who is violently murdered, by an immigrant no less. Given the
status of the victim and the perpetrator, and because the murderer called
the police and confessed while waiting for them to arrive; it falls to a
lawyer his first week into the job. The problem for the defense and the
prosecution is while the murderer is happy to confess he will not give his
So after much thought our lawyer suddenly figures something out, spends a
week researching, and then presents a brilliant defense. It turns out even
the best of us may have a few skeletons in our closet, and a German
gentleman of a certain age may just have more than most.
Now my problem with this book is demonstrated in the above paragraph. You
may be tempted to think that I am being too simplistic in my explanation of
the plot, but yet that is almost how the book is written. In an
outstanding example of concise writing our author has left out much of what
would have made this book 5 stars. It reads like a treatment of the book
he was going to write, the other 2-300 pages not to be found.
So if you want to read a great book devoid of all the extraneous details
and red herrings of the investigative process; to just get to the facts in
stereotypical German efficiency, then the Collini Case is the perfect book.
All the crime in a two hour read.
Quick Review: 3.5 Stars out of 5.Why I Read it: European Crime Fiction is my thing
Where I Obtained the Book: My local library
Synopsis: The internationally bestselling courtroom drama centering on a
young German lawyer and a case involving war crimes
A bestseller in Germany since its 2011 release—with rights sold in
seventeen countries—The Collini Case combines the classic courtroom
procedural with modern European history in a legal thriller worthy of John
Grisham and Scott Turow.
Fabrizio Collini is recently retired. He’s a quiet, unassuming man with no
indications that he’s capable of hurting anyone. And yet he brutally
murders a prominent industrialist in one of Berlin’s most exclusive hotels.
Collini ends up in the charge of Caspar Leinen, a rookie defense lawyer
eager to launch his career with a not-guilty verdict. Complications soon
arise when Collini admits to the murder but refuses to give his motive,
much less speak to anyone. As Leinen searches for clues he discovers a
personal connection to the victim and unearths a terrible truth at the
heart of Germany’s legal system that stretches back to World War II. But
how much is he willing to sacrifice to expose the truth?